Ulmer: Exercise is the fountain of youth

Ulmer: Exercise is the fountain of youth

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Somewhere in the back of my mind I sensed that either of my loyal readers might be wondering what I’ve been doing when I’m not driveling about the state of our nation, so here goes.

For the record, doing nothing all day has kept me quite busy, especially since I changed my morning coffee routine, but that’s another story so I'll just let that hang there for a while.

Anyway it’s interesting to note how others notice when you’ve changed something. For instance this change in routine shifted my gym time from 9-10 a.m. to 7-8 a.m. The first day Ron, a fellow gym rat and former basketball teammate, walked over and asked if something was wrong because for years he was usually leaving when I was arriving.

For those of you that have been practicing gym avoidance, we gym rats do our gym time in hour long shifts and over time you could almost set your watch to each one's arrival. We don’t talk much to each other mainly because we’re busy overexerting ourselves with the great hope that whoever said there are only so many ticks in a ticker was wrong.

The mood is always pleasant as we share equipment and make sure we put it away and wipe it off before heading toward the next stage of head banging.

For those of you unfamiliar with gym-related head banging, it involves lifting weights, tread milling in hopes of working up a sweat then keeping it up until your deodorant breaks down, and like head banging, it feels so good when you quit, which is why those who have a smile on their face are done and those who just arrived either have a frown on their face or dread in their eyes.

Either of my loyal readers will tell you that I’ve always indulged in some sort of gym exercise gig. I played amateur basketball until I started tripping over the lines on the court at age 54. For years I played tennis from spring past freeze up where I skidded on ice and blew out a knee, jogged two miles a day for decades, swam until my ears permanently plugged with water and snow skied till the snow turned back to water. You name it, I’ve at least thought about trying it, but alas today I have been reduced to walking and dynamic strength (weights) workouts. The weird part is I still enjoy doing it.

I think I’ve tricked myself into believing that exercise is the fountain of youth. It’s been my experience that being sedentary is nice but abusing it leads to atrophy (for you functional illiterates -- sedentary means one who sits and atrophy means wasting away). We old folks are deteriorating faster than you young folks so it’s my opinion that a fella should take a bit of time each day to make sure that everything is in working order. For me this requires what I consider an active inventory, like a two-mile walk or an hour of stretching, yoga, dance or lifting weights. And, for the record, not only do I feel good when I quit, I’m usually smiling on the trek to doing nothing again.

So that’s what I know about that and now you do, too. The real trick to doing nothing is enjoying doing something. For instance, at one point I had high hopes of making the senior edition of Muscle Magazine, but reality set in and I’ve now been reduced to encouraging others to get into head banging. Who would've thought?

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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